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Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

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Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby coberst » Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:26 am

Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Few individuals discover and display a talent, a personal resonance that can truly excite public appreciation. Those who do display such a resonance are truly rewarded. However, I am not particularly interested in those few but I am interested in considering all the rest of us who have resonances (talents?) and especially all those that remain undiscovered by ourselves.

I am of the opinion that we all have a number of personal resonances (talents?) that if discovered give great emphasis to our life’s satisfaction. Those individuals who discover and exploit such a personal resonance can find great self-satisfaction. If that particular resonance strikes a social resonance then the accompanying social display of appreciation can add to the personal satisfaction to the individual.

I think a successful artist is a good example of what I speak. The singing artist who happens not only to discover a particular musical talent and, if that talent is in accord with a public musical taste, that individual would reap great personal and economic satisfaction. The actor or painter, or any of many possible talents that are appreciated by the public would serve as examples of what I mean by resonance.

It seems that society and all its institutions are focused upon making everyone of us efficient producers and consumers. Nothing prepares us for self-discovery when such discovery is not supportive of a drive to produce and consume. I think that most social pressure from birth to death is directed at the drive to make us effective producers and consumers.

I chose to use the word “resonance” rather than talent because I think our sense of the meaning of the word “talent” will distort the point I wish to make. “Talent” is such a ‘produce and consume’ word. In fact we have little vocabulary available when discussing what I mean.

At mid-life when our career ambitions dim and our family are cared for is the time that is available to us to begin to de-emphasize the world of ‘production and consumption’ and begin exploring the world of the intellect directed as an end-in-itself’. Our intellects have been so totally directed as a means to an end that we will have some difficulty thinking of knowledge and understanding that is considered as an end-in-itself.

Our first encounter with resonance, as the word is normally used, might have been when we first discovered on the playground swing that a little energy directed in synchronization with the swing’s resonant frequency would produce outstanding movement. What a marvelous discovery. We might make similar marvelous discoveries if we decide, against all that we have learned in the past, that the intellect can be used as an end-in-it-self.

I also think that if a person reaches mid-life without having begun an intellectual life that person will be unlikely to begin such a life. It appears to me that if we do not start such an effort before mid-life we will never have an intellectual life. After our school daze are over it might be wise for a person to begin the cultivation of intellectual curiosity even though there may not be a lot of time available for that hobby.

Get a life—get an intellectual life!
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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby briley » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:22 pm

Interesting question, but I'm not sure how it related to your subject topic.

If you are inferring that the Intellectual life is a resonance (talent) then I don't see how you could translate that to "having a talent endangers peace of mind".

I think you need to define "Peace of Mind" as well. If peace of mind refers to "ignorance is bliss" then I would argue that an intellectual life does endanger that sort of bliss/happiness.

Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby coberst » Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:38 am

I would say that an individual seeking to develop an intellectual life would after their school daze are over spend at least seven hours a week reading what I would call disinterested knowledge. After reaching mid-life that study time would increase to about 15 hours a week. After reaching 65 that time would increase to maybe 20 hours a week.

I would call this effort self-actualizing self-learning.

I am a retired engineer with a good bit of formal education and twenty five years of self-learning. I began the self-learning experience while in my mid-forties. I had no goal in mind; I was just following my intellectual curiosity in whatever direction it led me. This hobby, self-learning, has become very important to me. I have bounced around from one hobby to another but have always been enticed back by the excitement I have discovered in this learning process. Carl Sagan is quoted as having written; “Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.”

I label myself as a September Scholar because I began the process at mid-life and because my quest is disinterested knowledge.

Disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term ‘disinterested knowledge’ as similar to ‘pure research’, as compared to ‘applied research’. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

I think of the self-learner of disinterested knowledge as driven by curiosity and imagination to understand. The September Scholar seeks to ‘see’ and then to ‘grasp’ through intellection directed at understanding the self as well as the world. The knowledge and understanding that is sought by the September Scholar are determined only by personal motivations. It is noteworthy that disinterested knowledge is knowledge I am driven to acquire because it is of dominating interest to me. Because I have such an interest in this disinterested knowledge my adrenaline level rises in anticipation of my voyage of discovery.

We often use the metaphors of ‘seeing’ for knowing and ‘grasping’ for understanding. I think these metaphors significantly illuminate the difference between these two forms of intellection. We see much but grasp little. It takes great force to impel us to go beyond seeing to the point of grasping. The force driving us is the strong personal involvement we have to the question that guides our quest. I think it is this inclusion of self-fulfillment, as associated with the question, that makes self-learning so important.

The self-learner of disinterested knowledge is engaged in a single-minded search for understanding. The goal, grasping the ‘truth’, is generally of insignificant consequence in comparison to the single-minded search. Others must judge the value of the ‘truth’ discovered by the autodidactic. I suggest that truth, should it be of any universal value, will evolve in a biological fashion when a significant number of pursuers of disinterested knowledge engage in dialogue.

At mid-life many citizens begin to analyze their life and often discover a need to reconstitute their purpose. Some of the advantageous of this self-actualizing self-learning experience is that it is virtually free, undeterred by age, not a zero sum game, surprising, exciting and makes each discovery a new eureka moment. The self-actualizing self-learning experience I am suggesting is similar to any other hobby one might undertake; interest will ebb and flow. In my case this was a hobby that I continually came back to after other hobbies lost appeal.

I suggest for your consideration that if we “Get a life—Get an intellectual life” we very well might gain substantially in self-worth and, perhaps, community-worth.

I have been trying to encourage adults, who in general consider education as a matter only for young people, to give this idea of self-learning a try. It seems to be human nature to do a turtle (close the mind) when encountering a new and unorthodox idea. Generally we seem to need for an idea to face us many times before we can consider it seriously. A common method for brushing aside this idea is to think ‘I’ve been there and done that’, i.e. ‘I have read and been a self-learner all my life’.

I am not suggesting a stroll in the park on a Sunday afternoon. I am suggesting a ‘Lewis and Clark Expedition’. I am suggesting the intellectual equivalent of crossing the Mississippi and heading West across unexplored intellectual territory with the intellectual equivalent of the Pacific Ocean as a destination.
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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby DontEatEggs666 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:38 pm

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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:53 am

A very good question .... I think too much knowledge and information can endanger peace of mind. We live in a world of hatred, war and pain and if you really think a lot about all the trouble in the world, it can make you sad, that's for sure. So I try to consume as much news as necessary and as little as possible - there's enough trouble in my own little world.

Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby hawkins21 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:35 pm

I believe that someone mentioned that if we are to define "Peace of Mind" as ignorance and bliss then the answer to your question is yes. But at the same time, if you look at if philosophically you would actually have a peace of mind in return.

Philosophers, at least in principle, tend to look for the truth about every metaphysical thing that exist (reality, morality, religion, existence, government, consciousness, etc). I have not met a philosopher that would choose ignorance and bliss over metaphysical truths about the world.

People tend to think that the more intellectual an individual is, the more jaded life becomes. This is not true. I would rather die knowing that I know the true nature of reality then to live a life as a lie. In a sense I do obtain a peace of mind because I experienced my life based off truth or at least searching for the truth. In this case the answer to your question is no, but any answer you will get will be purely subjective.
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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby vaguelyhumanoid » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:12 pm

I think an intellectual life in fact brings peace of mind, because it helps one focus on the bigger picture in life.
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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby Echelon » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:28 am

Fascinating question.
In my opinion there are really not many questions that exist that are more fundamental than this.

Take religion for example; in christianity, the garden of eden was said to be paradise. This paradise could essentially only exist whilst adam and eve did not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus in christianity, ignorance is bliss.

For the purposes of what i am about to say i will just qualify that in my opinion peace of mind is synonymous with happiness, therefore i will talk about happiness.

In my opinion, happiness can be seen like this;
Take a number scale, for example -5 to 5. -5 being a very unhappy person and 5 being a very happy person. For -5 to exist, it is necessary that 5 exists, and vice versa. The number of good and bad must always balance. Thus it follows that zero is a state where there is no happiness and at the same time no sadness.

A state of ignorance is zero on the number scale. It can be seen as a happy state only insofar as there is no sadness. However it is possible to be infinitely happier than that, with knowledge, however with this good must also follow an equal amount of bad. So basically, you just have to make sure you fall on the right side of the scale.
We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby steveervin » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:48 pm

I think an excessive amount of learning and data can imperil true serenity. We live in a universe of contempt, war and torment and on the off chance that you truly ponder all the inconvenience on the planet, it can make you miserable, that is without a doubt. So I attempt to devour however much news as essential and as meager as could reasonably be expected - there's sufficient inconvenience in my own particular minimal world. assignment service A condition of lack of awareness is zero on the number scale. It can be seen as a cheerful state just seeing that there is no pity. In any case it is conceivable to be vastly more satisfied than that, with learning, however with this great should likewise take after an equivalent measure of terrible. So essentially, you simply need to ensure you fall on the right half of the scale.

Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby john.kevinn87 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:01 pm

I think an intemperate measure of learning and information can endanger genuine peacefulness. dana delorenzo xxx We live in a universe of hatred, war and torment and in case you genuinely consider all the burden on the planet, A condition of numbness is zero on the number scale. It can be viewed as a cheerful state just seeing that there is no bitterness

Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby romanze7 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:45 am

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Re: Does an Intellectual Life Endanger Peace of Mind?

Postby LayRong » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:36 pm

Few individuals discover and display a talent, a personal resonance that can truly excite public appreciation. Those who do display such a resonance are truly rewarded.

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